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Triptych: Nicotine
by Rage
Based on the events of AfterIH the rpg.
Disclaimer: not mine.


He smokes to calm himself. So that he doesn't frighten his colleagues.

He smokes to give his hands something to do. So that he does not reach for his gun quite so quickly or so often.

He smokes to give his mind something to focus on. So that he can forget.

With each strand that escapes his mouth and gently wafts away, he moves further and further from her scent. Her simplistic worldview. Her wild laughter and her firm touch. Her entirely inappropriate vocabulary.

Everything about her had been inappropriate. But, he remembers, that was what he had loved best.

And now her son has come with his identical features and identical mannerisms and an all too familiar creature lurking just beneath his skin. But behind all that, there is something else... a little something that isn't his but hers and everything he'd so painstakingly forgotten comes rushing back.

Sekigawa Kenishii smokes three packs a day. Lucky Strikes --- a remnant of his youth when brand name was somehow important. He now smokes it because its bitter taste is familiar.

A practiced twist of the wrist and the lighter is lit. He inhales slowly, steadily, as he walks away from the boy with his face and the friend with the red hair. Three packs a day and years worth of old memories. He has to forget all over again.


There are four things that Mito Kaoru loves best in her simple little world.

Good friends and/or family. (Though, she believes that friends are family so they might as well be the same thing.) Good sex. Good booze. And a good smoke. (In no particular order.)

Two of the four have been denied her and with the vibrating tension radiating through out the house and the surge of pregnancy induced hormones through her body, she finds herself more than willing to leave the family to sort out their own issues. "Option number two, please," she thinks to herself.

Instead of booze, she chooses liquid tongues and tingling nerves.

Instead of cigarettes, she chooses dark, smoky voices.

A sake and Marlboro Lites man on Monday. A gin and Salem on Wednesday. A bourbon and Camel on Friday.

She doesn't do whiskey and Lucky Strikes -- at first because of its bitter taste and bitter memories -- and then later, because the memories have been replaced with a handsome, self-contained bundle of teenage hormones and she doesn't do incest, thank you very much. Though, with a nice dose of self-congratulatory amusement, she does admit that when it comes to the whole 'springing from the loins' deal, she manages a mean follow through.

Today will be a rather delicious martini and Virgin.

But first.

She leans against the door, ear pressed tightly against the thin painted-over particleboard. She'd be able to hear the shouted words even if she stood outside with her fingers in her ears, but she has no intention of missing a single moment of angry drama. She runs her hand over her rounded belly and ignores the plaintive, squashed cries of her bladder. She silently tells her unborn son, "Looks like vodka and secondhand will be around underfoot even more now. Remind me to get more food. We three eat way too much."


The best things in life are always followed by a good smoke.

It's sort of a commemorative, mental bookend sort of thing -- Event cemented by the dark, greyish strands flowing through the air and binding the memory to his insides with every breath inhaled...Escaping the cops after 3 hours worth of running, ducking and scaling fences is worthy of an end smoke.

Holding a full bladder in for half a day while standing in an air-conditioned room--- finally being able to let it all out certainly deserves a blissful bit of smoke afterwards.

A good, hard, blood filled fight, definitely. As well as surviving a day with irritating relatives without killing anyone.

Youhei idly counts heartbeats from where he lays sprawled atop Hanamichi's chest like a large satisfied cat on a comfortable pillow. Gently breathes in, then out again, smoke rising up like a black rose, each exhalation adding petal, after fat petal to its wavering shape.

He taps some ash off into the small carry case nestled in his palm. Holding the cigarette between his lips, he reaches out his freed hand to brush the hair off Hanamichi's forehead.

Then returns to blowing patterns into the air.